Sasha Grey has been, for the most part, a woman of many passions. Initially making her name in the adult film industry, she has since moved on to other projects such as independent films, TV shows, writing, and, most recently, spinning as a full-fledged DJ. During her recent visit to the Philippines, we sat down with her and talked to her about her music, TV, and movie careers.
What led you to pursue this music/DJ career?
I used to be in a band called aTelecine and we were an industrial/experimental band. While or after starting the band, I started getting requests to DJ which I thought was strange. But since I collect vinyls, I thought it would be fun, different, and interesting. So I called a few friends who DJ, asked them, “What do I do? How do I carry my records around?” and they were like, “No no no. Don’t carry your records. Everything is digital now.” Then I bought a nice mixer and started practicing. Then I started playing out in clubs. In the beginning, I made a lot of mistakes and only played music that I liked. A lot of the music I played were very ’80s and, in larger club settings, it might not really work. I learned a lot from those experiences and now I know what works.
How would you describe your music? What is your process in creating music?
I actually just produced my first house track. It’s called Heat of the Night and I produced it with Jayceeoh. I would like to produce more music that are in line with the music I play on my live sets. It’s fun to tour and rip through a record and have your fans recognize it as yours. I don’t ever want to forget my roots and the people that inspired me along the way so I want to keep experimenting with all the genres I worked on in the past. It was nice to have a collaborator for my first track. I wanted to create a track that was Big Room and I think we did that.
Who are your musical influences?
James Brown, Michael Jackson, [Jimi] Hendrix, Throbbing Gristle, New Order. Currently, I listen to Oliver Heldens and Disclosure. I love music and I grew up on a household where I was exposed to every genre, almost. I think that influenced me a lot and made me grow into the person that I am today.
You’re the type of artist who’s very vocal about whatever industry they are in. What can you say about the music industry now?
I feel like people have outdated shock values and, in a way, it sort of disrespects the audience with really theatrical, sometimes cheesy things. It couldn’t be more commercial and that’s what bothers me. What I do love about it is that you can be from any background. You can take any chance or risk that you want and it doesn’t matter. You can do it. Even if it’s cheesy. And commercial. And silly. And playing off ideas that are 30 years old. That part is really exciting. I find that in writing as well. You can kind of have any ethos or any frame of mind and go for it. There’s lot of bureaucracy. [pause] Well, maybe not if you want to be a pop singer. [laughs]
You’ve been involved in a lot of things. From porn, you moved on to music, writing books and even playing parts in TV and movies. How does one person jump from one industry to the next with such deftness? What keeps you going and what is your end goal here?
I think acting, writing, and music are all mutually beneficial. The more I travel and DJ, the more I learn about different cultures and meet people from different backgrounds. I think that makes me a richer person and I appreciate that, I love that I get to travel so much. At the end of the day, the more I learn and absorb, the better it makes me in everything I do. In the grand scheme of things, nothing is ever certain. I know that my true love is cinema. I would be happy acting and writing them as well. I also love music because it’s the international language. You could speak it anywhere and deliver it anywhere and it unites people. That’s what I love about music. But I also think about what I want in the future. Long term, as I get older, maybe I want to have my own business. I don’t know what that is necessarily. I mean, how can I take a step back from the public eye which has always been a part of my career no matter what field I am in? I want something that’s different like a business where I’m calling the shots and not having to be out in public all the time.
Of all the projects that you’ve been involved in, music, movies, etc., do you have any favorites? Why?
I think my favorite collaboration in music is with Throbbing Gristle. As far as film and TV is concerned, it’s hard to pick a favorite because I haven’t done that many things yet. It’s been a slow and steady progression. Each film has been different. In The Girlfriend Experience, it was all improv. There was no script which was very cool and very challenging. Then shooting something like I Melt With You, there was a script but we had the opportunity to improvise a little while the camera was free and could sort of pick up from anywhere. In shooting Entourage, even though my role was a bit more serious, being on the set of a comedy is very different. Shooting for a TV show is fast compared to shooting a film. You shoot, you go, then take and you’re on to the next thing. I’ve been lucky enough to work with people who really enjoy what they do and are serious about what they’re doing.
Do you have a dream project?
I would love to work with Michael Mann. Michael Mann is awesome. I want to do an action film. I think it would be fun and challenging. Couple of years ago, I was preparing for an action film. I was on the gym everyday. The director was overseas for the pre-production. Then the film fell apart. [laughs] It happens all the time, more often than people seem to realize.
First memory of PLAYBOY?
I’ve been in PLAYBOY for what, two times now? But my first memory is probably seeing them in 7-Eleven stores when I was young, thinking, “What’s in that?” You could always see the cover but never really what’s inside them. I never touched them because I was not allowed to. Photos by Art Oca (Shot on location at Hyve)